Local Area Guide: Things to do / Activities / Attractions

Whether you're relocating or just visiting, the first thing you'll want to know is that Santa Fe is "the City Different." Why is it different?

Because, unlike other cities, Santa Fe doesn't overwhelm — we are friendlier and more intimate, yet we boast all the attractions of a larger cosmopolitan city:


We are "the City Different" because, unlike other cities, our history is an integral part of our day-to-day life, augmented by modernity rather than erased by it. Established by indigenous hunters and gatherers, influenced by Hispanic immigrants and explorers, and populated over the centuries by numerous other European descendants, Santa Fe continues to embrace new diversity and to celebrate our cultural heritage. Legacies from these earlier groups endure in harmony: in our pueblos and reservations, in our festivals and traditions, even in the foods we grow and eat and in the beauty that nurtures us.

No city was ever more beautiful. Centuries ago, newcomers were drawn to this area because of the scenic splendor, and they stayed because the earth offered up its bounty: arable lands and precious minerals and gems, including gold, silver, and turquoise. And Santa Fe's generosity has never flagged. Today, unique among many cities, Santa Fe boasts spectacular views and experiences of nature. Our several mountain chains—visible wherever you turn—beckon to hikers and skiers, bird watchers and horseback riders. The majestic Rio Grande continues to replenish the high desert plains and valleys, sustaining productive fields that supply our farmers markets, as well as pastures for domesticated steer and buffalo or the wild herds of antelope and horses that will take your breath away when you glimpse them from the highways and byways.

Finally, Santa Fe has earned its nickname because it truly is different, in indescribable ways. There is a spirit here which defies definition, yet you feel it in the purity of the air, in the vivid colors of each season, in the vastness of the night sky, and in that ethereal quality that turns mere neighbors into lifelong friends. You stand a little taller, breathe a little easier, in the City Different.